Beef and Butternut Chili

Recipe Author: Conne Ward Cameron

Butternut chili recipes abound because butternut is a delicious addition to any chili recipe, soaking up and complementing the flavors in a way few other vegetables can do. This recipe started out in Bon Appetit. Use whatever dried whole peppers you have on hand. And if you don’t have any, then chili powder will do. Lots of great chili recipes start with this toasting/soaking/grinding step for dried chiles and so I keep a few small bags on hand in the freezer. If I were more of a connoisseur, I suppose I would be more stringent about which peppers I use, but I find they all turn out pretty delicious.


1 dried ancho chile 1 dried pasilla chile 2 cups boiling water 3 cups chicken or beef broth 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon vegetable oil, divided 1 pound boneless beef chuck roast, trimmed, cut into 1/2-inch pieces Salt and pepper 1 large onion, finely chopped 4 garlic cloves, minced 2 teaspoons cumin 1 teaspoon oregano 1 12-ounce bottle beer 1 butternut squash, cut in half, seeds removed, peeled, cut into 1-inch chunks Juice of 1 lime 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds Sour cream, avocado, sliced red onion, for garnish


In a small dry skillet, toast chiles over medium-high heat, turning occasionally and pressing down to help them brown. When darkened in color and beginning to soften, transfer to a boil and cover with boiling water. Let sit 30 minutes to soften. Drain, remove seeds and stems. Discard soaking water.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine softened chiles and broth. Puree.

While chiles are soaking, in a Dutch oven or large saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Season beef chunks with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally until browned all over, about 5 minutes. Do not crowd pot. Cook in batches if needed. Transfer beef to a plate.

In the same pot, add 1 tablespoon oil, onion and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, 5 minutes. Add cumin and oregano and cook 1 minute. Return beef to pot and add beer. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until the beer is almost completely reduced. Then add chile puree, season with salt and pepper, and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until meat is tender, about 20 minutes. Add squash, cover and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in lime juice.

Serve chili topped with pumpkin seeds, sour cream, avocado and onions as desired.